Monday, July 16, 2012

Time Management Class Part 2: The Telephone

Happy Monday and Greetings from Omaha Nebraska this Week! Did you know Omaha had a lovely Downtown full of Cobblestones and Brickstones with Patios? I didn't but I'm fully enjoying my temporary office here this week! 

As you may remember, last week Friday we started the Time Management Class with all the common Time Thieves that distract us from getting our Work done. Today we'll focus on our first common Distraction: the Telephone.
One of the most intrusive and distracting Time Management Factors is the Telephone. As you may notice, you really need long uninterrupted times to keep focused and get a job completely done. Any task which involves thinking takes an average of about 45-90 Minutes to finish. Only if we fully complete a project, we can feel the confidence and self-esteem of our work. Here are the tools you need to eliminate the first Distraction from your workplace: The Telephone.

Here are several ways to deal with Telephone distractions:

Screen Your Calls
Even if you’re not in a high-paying Position, you can screen your Calls. If your Calls are personal, leave messages to inform those Contacts that you take personal Calls after 4 pm for example. This gives you a great chunk of time to deal with your Tasks at Hand. Wait to listen to the Voice Mail before you call People back. Once you’re catching Momentum in your Work, it is quite destructive to take every Call which might be coming in. Make it a point to screen your Calls so that you are proactive in choosing what and when to get distracted.

Give People specific Times to call You
Whenever you meet someone new, or you ask someone you know to give you a Call, tell People you take your calls between 3-5 PM for example. Giving people specific instructions makes it easy for them and for you. It also gives you the whole morning being uninterrupted from Phone Calls. Knowing that your expected Call wont come in until late afternoon will also give you undistracted Focus for the Day.

Disconnect Your Phone
For certain Hours in the Day, disconnect Your Phone. The simple Idea that you are not going to be interrupted will make you more efficient and help getting Your Work done quickly. Many of you will think now: “But what if a call is important?” Think back - How often during the day do you get important Calls? Don’t you think there are 2-3 hours which you could carve out to disconnect Your Phone? Disconnecting your phone will be the mental action with which you are telling yourself: “I’m at work now - time to concentrate”. Remember the last time you got lost in a good movie - wouldn’t you love that kind of concentration for your important tasks? A way to get lost in work in a way that time flies and you are done in a matter of a quick hour?

Get comfortable saying “Back to work for me”
Sometimes phone calls don’t end because we don’t say the magic words “Back to work for me”. We get comfortable being distracted and avoid getting back to work. Whenever there is a task you are avoiding, it is very likely one of the tasks that would make the biggest improvement in Your Project. The uncomfortable tasks are where our highest Return on Investment lies. Get comfortable saying “Back to work for me”. Say it to yourself and catch Momentum using the Phrase. Start getting practice in saying “Back to work for me” when you are talking on the phone. Get yourself out of the destructive circle of staying on the phone when you should go back to your Tasks.

Record a different Voicemail
If you’re afraid that the person won’t try calling again after hitting Your Voicemail, it might be time to change the message on your Answering Machine. The differences can be night and day when it comes to how much your Voicemail can appeal to the Caller. A great Voicemail will entice the Caller to leave a Message and feel more positively about not reaching you immediately. This will make you feel better about disconnecting the phone or simply being away from the desk to find a better place to focus. Here are a few tips for a better Voicemail: Smile when you’re recording your Message (People CAN hear a smile on the phone and react positively), try to sound positive and uplifting, imagine you are talking to a friend when you’re recording the Message, try to get across your Personality on the Voicemail (don’t try to be serious if you’re not a serious person, be humorous if you have a humorous character, be caring if you’re a caring person), think of yourself as genuinely concerned for the Caller when you’re recording the message. These are just a few suggestions, so please only pick and choose what speaks to you.

Get organized
If you are the one making the Calls, give yourself exact Timeframes and Deadlines for the Call you’re making. Plan to make your Calls between 10-11 AM for example and 4-5 PM for the people you haven’t reached yet. The more you prepare and strategize, the more efficient you will become.

Knowing you will be uninterrupted is a great enhancement for your Focus. Resist the temptation of immediately returning calls if you’re in the middle of a Project. Give yourself the extra 30-60 Minutes of completing your Work until you return Calls. Our need not to offend People can often be greater than our need to get Projects done and set Priorities.

Are you aware of how you take your Call? What’s your Voicemail sound like? Do you ever disconnect your Phone?

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